Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dunston Falls- Al Lamanda

Dunston Falls
Al Lamanda
Five Star, Mar 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9781594145865

In 1959 the ice storm of the century cripples New England and isolates communities like Dunston Falls, Maine. Electricity is limited, and food supplies and heating are dwindling. Fifty-three years old Sheriff David Peck understands the crisis and with his deputy Jay Bender and the mayor Ed Kranston begins to bring people to the only safe spots left: the church and hospital. Diner owner Deb Robertson provides food.

Peck and Bender search for stranded residents. When they reach Doris White’s home, they find her dead; she was raped, knifed, and strangled. Peck quietly investigates the homicide, but heeding the advice of top officials to avoid a panic tells no one. However, he begins suffering severe headaches for no apparent reason and keeps envisioning a fatal fire that looks so vivid, but has no recall of such. The murder of Deb follows; since he just made love to her and was very attracted to her, a shook up Peck vows to find the killer.

This exhilarating police procedural thriller takes a wild twist into science fiction territory that works very well although surviving the storm and a serial killer is an exciting story line in of itself. Readers will receive two shocks; first the spin from mystery-suspense to sci fi, which explains the headaches; and then the identity of the killer and why. Even as fans will enjoy this entertaining tale, the audience will also wonder if the spin was needed as the survival saga was a powerful hook.

Harriet Klausner